Swallowed by a Secret by Risa Nyman
198 pages ~ ISBN:1734386614 (ISBN13: 9781734386615)
Published January 21st 2020 by Immortal Works Press
After twelve-year-old Rocky overhears Mom admit her story about how his dad died is bogus, his trust in his one remaining parent unravels. The For-Sale sign appears on the front lawn right after the funeral, forcing Rocky to leave the house linked to so many memories of his dad.
Consumed by the secret and struggling to adjust to changing schools mid-year, Rocky is startled by the voice of his dead father inside his head offering advice on how he could learn the truth.
Rocky does find a live and lively partner in Olive, who offers to be his assistant sleuth to help crack the secret. The pair’s schemes go bust, but they embolden Rocky to embark on a journey of risks, eavesdropping and snooping to discover the truth about the father he thought he knew.
REVIEW By VICKIE:
Swallowed By A Secret - Risa Nyman
...Excellent story. There is a great deal of insight about mental health in this wonderful story. How we will do anything to protect our family. I lost a son the way Rocky lost his father. It effects so many lives in such a hard way.
The characters are all well-developed and it is easy to feel their emotions. I shed lots of tears reading this story.
I believe it would be beneficial for everyone to read this story, teens to adults. It tells a beautiful story about difficult circumstances and is a great reminder of some very helpful ideas.
I give this story a literary rating of 5/5
ABOUT the Author:
Born in Boston with the accent to prove it, Risa lived within ten miles of the city for decades until a recent move to the neighboring Ocean State.
For many years, Risa worked in a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting active participation in our democracy, with a special focus on voting and elections.
Risa’s deep dive into creative writing started with a strange event that involved finding three pennies in a neat stack in a completely empty apartment that belonged to her mother. It’s a long story.
Writing is now a priority and passion. At other times, Risa is reading, exercising or doing therapeutic ironing – unless the grandchildren are around.
This Review made possible by Prism Book Tours
INSPIRED by a TRUE STORY!
One Boy's War by Nancy McDonald
Category: Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 134 pages
Genre: Historical fiction | Publisher: Iguana Books
Release date: April, 2020 | Format available for review: print, PDF
Tour dates: September 14 to October 2, 2020
Content Rating: G. There is no violence, bad language etc. in this book.
ENGLAND, SUMMER 1940. Following a brush with death in the Irish Sea, 10-year-old Käfer Avigdor unexpectedly finds himself back in London. There, he stumbles upon a sinister Nazi plot that targets hundreds of people in Britain—including the most powerful man in the country. The one person who might be able to defeat Adolf Hitler. With the Germans threatening to invade England at any moment, Käfer musters all his courage and ingenuity in a valiant effort to thwart the Nazis. But will he succeed in time to save the day? One Boy’s War, the sequel to Boy from Berlin, is inspired by real people and historical events.
Buy Now: Amazon ~ Amazon.ca ~ Chapters Indigo.ca ~ Barnes & Noble ~ IndieBound ~
Abe Books ~ Book Depository ~ Books-A-Million ~ Add to Goodreads
REVIEW by LAWonder10:
This was a very well-written and excellent reading for any youth, but is directed at older elementary age and early teens. However, i am certain the whole family would enjoy it. It is mostly true!
The characters and scenes were both portrayed well. the author took liberties in adding some adventure and suspense which enhanced the tale. It is advisable to read the "Author's Noes" at the end of the story.
This is based on an actual events during Worl War ll. It centers mostly on one family forced to flee Germany and the Nazi's.
I offer a Five Stars rating for this book.
*This book was gifted me with no pressure for a positive review. This is my honest review.
"Inspired by a true story, Boy from Berlin shares a unique voice in the Holocaust. Highly recommended!” - Jennifer Roy, author of Yellow Star, winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award.
“A compelling introduction to themes of war, courage and identity, certain to engage young readers.” - Trilby Kent, author of Stones for my Father, winner of the TD Canadian Children’s Literary Award.
OTHER BOOK in the SERIES:
Boy from Berlin by Nancy McDonald
Category: Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 142 pages
Genre: Historical fiction ~ Publisher: Iguana Books
Tour dates: September 14 to October 2, 2020
Content Rating: G. There is no violence, bad language etc. in this book.
Berlin, April 1938. One night, eight-year-old Käfer Avigdor uses his specialty toilet-paper roll binoculars to spy on his Mama and Aunt Charlotte. The whispered conversation he overhears alerts him to a danger he didn’t know existed and starts him rethinking who he really is and where he belongs. Within hours, Käfer and his family flee their comfortable life. In a desperate race to stay one step ahead of the Nazis, Käfer is called on to be braver and more resourceful than he ever imagined possible. But will it be enough? Boy from Berlin is based on real people and actual events.
Buy Now: Amazon ~ Amazon.ca ~ Chapters Indigo.ca ~ Barnes & Noble ~IndieBound
Abe Books ~ Book Depository ~ Books-A-Million ~ Add to Goodreads
Why write historical fiction for young people? By Nancy McDonald, author of Boy from Berlin and One Boy’s War
“Boy from Berlin brings history to life with a compelling storyline, full of twists and turns.” “A gripping adventure wrapped in a crucial lesson in 20th Century history.”
“Spies, Nazis, a family in peril, all seen through the innocent eyes of an observant 8-year-old. This is a wonderful adventure that touches upon some important 20C history.”
When I first got the idea to write a novel based on my husband Käfer’s flight from Germany at the start WWII – and to tell it from his eight year-old point of view – I never dreamed it would get the enthusiastic reaction it has. In fact, I really questioned if it was something that would appeal to today’s children.
I was committed to telling the story. It’s a gripping tale. Käfer is living a comfortable life in Berlin. His father is an exceptionally talented aeronautical engineer who has invented a game-changing fuel pump that could win the war for the Nazis. But when Hitler comes to power the family flees in the dead of night, the Gestapo on their heels. What Käfer doesn’t know, what his parents have kept from him, is that his family is Jewish. Something he comes to suspect is one of the reasons they must leave.
But it’s a story about more than a race to stay one step ahead of the Nazis. There’s an issue that plagues Käfer: Why won’t my parents talk about whether or not we’re Jewish? Why is it wrong to be Jewish? And is there a safe haven for me anywhere? These are questions that dog a lot of youngsters today – particularly refugee and immigrant kids – and they’re looking for answers. Yet at the time I was writing Boy from Berlin, bookstores were filled with stories about vampires and wizards and mythical creatures. Would there be an audience for my historical novels? Would they resonate with children today?
Then a friend send me an article from the New York Times. It was a fascinating piece about how middle-grade and YA readers were turning to historical fiction set during WWII. Why? To start, there are very definable good guys and bad guys. And kids like that. Especially when the good guys come out on top. But for today’s children, there’s an added attraction. WWII was a conflict that swept young people up, either as members of the resistance or as refugees, forcing them to grow up quickly. As Käfer did.
I think that historical fiction has the ability to move children in a way that other forms of literature don’t. And, if it’s done well, it can teach them very modern-day lessons about how to survive against seemingly insurmountable odds – and even succeed.
Meet the Author:
Nancy McDonald began her career as a journalist on television programs that include W5, Canada AM, and Marketplace before going on to become a sought-after freelance writer, penning everything from documentaries to live-action scripts to comic books. One Boy’s War is the highly anticipated sequel to Boy from Berlin. Nancy lives in Stratford, Ontario, where she revels in Shakespeare, takes theatergoers on tours of the Costume Warehouse, and treads the boards with the Perth County Players. She also works part-time at Fanfare Books, Stratford’s only independent bookseller.
connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ instagram ~ goodreads
Here is the tour schedule.
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Simply West of Heaven by Monique Bucheger
Release Date: 1 Jan. 2013 ~ Number of pages: 288
Genre: Mid-Grade ~ Warnings: None
When her dad confiscates her deceased mom’s journals, 12-year-old Ginnie West counts on her BFF, Tillie, to help her get them back. But Tillie's not so sure the ghost of Ginnie's mom will make a good addition to their new family tree.
Then the girls' world gets flipped upside-down when a blast from the past shows up and makes Tillie go nutburgers. Life gets complicated when Ginnie is forced to choose between helping her best friend and getting the answers she’s always dreamed of.
BUY Link: AMAZON
What reviewers are saying about this book:
*Like Anne of "Anne of Green Gables," Ginnie is a character you can't help but love."
*I couldn't put these books down. I was not only entertained, but inspired."
* An excellent book that deals with the sensitive topics of bullying, abuse and forgiveness. It is action packed and full of raw emotions."
*Bucheger does an amazing job of writing this story but without giving a cookie cutter answer to the problems Ginnie faces."
ABOUT The AUTHOR
When Monique isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events.
Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in anygiven day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, twelve grand-darlings, too many cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of several books in three series and hopes to write many more.
~ Facebook ~ Website ~ ~ Twitter
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The Crownless King (The Broken Prince #2)
By Kara Linaburg
YA Fantasy | Paperback & ebook, 275 Pages |September 1, 2020
She won't meet her worst enemy on the battlefield...
War is brewing and the kingdom of Sindaleer is torn as the Knights of Norcir draw the folk to their side. When Sabriel, a specially Gifted, pledges her blood to their cause, she is ready to give all to bring the peace her leader promises. She understands Tirich's deep hatred toward the king, and has prepared for this moment all her life.But when her identity as a knight is discovered by the childhood friend who betrayed her years ago, Sabriel's plans for justice come toppling down. Now distracted by what once was, Sabriel fights to hold onto what she's believed to be true for so long.
Nick never forgot the red-headed lass of years past, but she's not the friend he remembers. As enemies connected by their past take opposing sides on their country's freedom, Nick refuses to believe what she's become.
Voices warning Sabriel she'll never succeed, and loyalties torn, she begins to realize that all is not as it seems. Tirich's power is growing stronger, and she fears she was wrong about the good she once saw in him.
The concluding book following The Broken Prince, reminds us of the inner war we all face, and what it means to rise from the ashes when all hope feels lost.
(Affiliate link included.)
Goodreads | Amazo
REVIEW by VICKIE:
The Crownless King - Kara Linaburg
As with The Broken Prince, I loved this story. There is so much to this story. All the feelings each character has about themselves and others has so much depth.
The characters are well-developed and it is easy to feel their emotions.
The story flows well from chapter to chapter and is easy to follow along.
I highly recommend this story to all age groups. It is a fun and enlightening story.
I give it a literary rating of 5/5
OTHER BOOKS in the SERIES:
The Broken Prince (The Broken Prince #1)
By Kara Linaburg
YA Fantasy | Paperback & ebook, 217 Pages | June 3, 2019
In all the fairy tales the maiden falls in love with the prince...but she has to remember that this isn’t a fairy tale...
Born into a kingdom where those of magical Gifts are rejected, feared, and even killed, Serena has spent her life striving to hide her ability and keep her younger brother safe.
The bastard son of the hated king and father he hardly knows, Prince Milosh is considered an outcast. He never expects to feel anything but contempt for the peasant girl who unexpectedly shows up in his life, forcing him to answer questions he never wished to ask.
When two very different worlds are thrown together under less than desirable circumstances, both hold deep judgement towards the other. But will they learn to see beyond their stations and birth so that they may defeat the coming darkness, or will labels given to them at birth continue to define them?
A heart-stopping tale about the power of human love, and how each of us are never truly alone.
(Affiliate link included.)
Goodreads | Amazon
Five Things to Know Before You Begin Creating a Fantasy World
Once upon a time a young teenage girl wanted to be like Tolkien or C.S Lewis or J.K Rowling or any of the other numerous famous authors who created vast and amazing storyworlds.
But guess what?
You are not other authors.
As much as I love Harry Potter and would love to be the next J.K Rowling, that is not my destiny.
You are you. I have my own story to tell, my own magical plot to create. I hold myself back when I choose to try and match up with other authors or do “another wizard story.”
Create a backstory.
Middle Earth is one of my favorite layered storyworlds because of how vast and detailed Tolkien made it. The language and history blows my mind as an author. I cannot even imagine having the brain to be that creative.
The key to creating any storyworld is backstory. Regardless if you choose to use all the information in your books, choose to write the backstory of your world. I spent countless hours in high school asking questions about Sindaleer, such as why did the Guardians live in a tower in the middle of the water? What celebrations and holidays and remembrances were special to the Sindaleerian folk? Who did they consider outcasts? Who did they fear? The answers to these questions eventually led to small subplots for “The Broken Prince” and “The Crownless King.”
Use real life.
I grew up on Narnian stories. One reason Narnia resonated with so many readers of its time was that C.S Lewis used real life as a base for his world. Children during wartime was something his young readers could relate to and identify with. They understood the fear and the need for courage. Don’t talk about something you don’t understand—talk about what you know. I based Sindaleer terrain off of my home state of West Virginia as well as some of Florida. I then did massive research on vikings and combined it with my love of Native American history.
Dare to be unique.
The Giver is known for helping launch the dystopian genre. After reading the book in high school, I fell in love with what Lois Lowry had done. Ms Lowry didn’t write and worry about
whether her book was current or not: she wrote what needed to be written, going on to impact many lives and creating a launching pad for the dystopian genre.
It’s easy to fall prey to the cliche. It’s easy to do what’s already been done. Jackaby from William Ritter (one of my favorite storyworlds ever created), combines aspects of Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes and other popular stories into something still very fresh and unique that holds true to Mr. Ritter’s writing voice, not a copycat for previous authors.
Create what needs to be written, not what’s already been done.
Don’t rush the process.
Whether it’s about the writing process or the character creation or world building or creating a new language, always and continually ask a lot of questions and don’t rest until you find the answers. Be okay with taking your time. Be okay with not meeting goals because you have more to accomplish than first thought.
We learn until we die, and life is a journey of learning. Some people say it took Tolkien nearly 57 years to complete the creation of Middle Earth.
So in saying that, I only have 50 more years to go. ;)
About the Author
Kara Linaburg is most content sipping an iced chai while watching the sun set over the mountains of her home in West Virginia. When she's not dreaming about her next adventure or being a mad scientist in the kitchen, you can find on www.thebeautifullybrokenblog.com where she strives for authenticity and beauty in a broken world. The Crownless King is her second novel.
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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August 31st: Launch
Hearts & Scribbles - Excerpt
Christy's Cozy Corners - Guest Post
My Life Loves andPassion - Review
Rockin' Book Reviews - Review & Guest Post
Splashes of Joy - Interview
Andi's Young Adult Books - Guest Post
Library Lady's Kid Lit - Review
Adventurous Bookworm - Excerpt
Losing the Busyness - Review
Bookworm Lisa - Review
Wishful Endings - Guest Post
Beauty in the Binding - Excerpt
Rincón de Joss - Review
Locks, Hooks and Books - Guest Post
Hallie Reads – Excerpt
GUARDIAN OF THE SKY REALMS by Gerry Huntman
RELEASE DATE: 9/1/20
GENRE: Upper Middle-Grade / Lower YA / Fantasy
Maree Webster—an "almost-emo" from the western suburbs of Sydney—hates school, has few friends, and is obsessed with angels and fallen angel stories. Life is boring until she decides to steal a famous painting from a small art gallery that has been haunting her dreams: swirling reds, grays and oranges of barely discernible winged figures. There, she meets a stranger who claims to know her and stumbles into a world where cities float in the sky, and daemons roam the barren, magma-spewing crags of the land far below. And all is not well—Maree is turning into something she loves but at the same time, fears. Most fearful of all is the prospect of losing her identity—what makes her Maree, and more importantly, what makes her human.
Guardian of the Sky Realms takes the reader on a journey through exotic fantasy lands, as well as across the globe, from Sydney to Paris, from the Himalayas to Manhattan. At its heart, it is a novel about transformation. Book two of the series will be released in 2021.
BUY LINKS: Meerkat Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
The Painting AD 2015
It was a balmy night but Maree shivered, buttoning up her coat. It was fear. Not for something specific, but the unknown--the back lanes of the Rocks were dark and menacing at midnight.
This was one of the oldest parts of Sydney and many of the narrow buildings she silently passed were over two hundred years old. In the old days, footpads and other villains frequented the narrow byways. They killed for a few shillings. The history of the area was tangible; you could smell it, taste it, and every shadow seemed to form into a knife-wielding psychopath.
Maree kept reminding herself that she had an overactive imagination as she continued down Kendell Lane, looking for No. 42. Still, she glanced over her shoulder every few seconds.
“There,” she whispered, when she spotted the rusty number in the dim light. The sign underneath it read: Azimuth Gallery. Viewings by appointment only
.... Not this night.
Maree made sure no one was in sight. She pulled out a pair of stiff wires and clumsily picked the old lock, following the instructions of a dubious website she had looked up the previous night. It took a while, but she won the struggle when she heard the tell-tale click.
She quickly entered the old building and shut the door. She pulled out a pocket torch and flashed it around to get her bearings. It was, in some ways, scarier in the gallery than in the lanes, as the paintings in the shadows appeared to come to life, shifting as the torch flickered by, the eyes of abstract figures seemingly following her. She shivered again, wandering into the next room, picking up her pace as if to avoid the gaze of the phantoms behind her.
Her torchlight almost immediately found the painting she was after. Wings in Despair. The picture she saw on the web; the magnificent work of art she had to have. This was not going to be theft for profit—this was for her.She had been dreaming about the painting for weeks, the swirling reds, grays and oranges of barely discernible winged figures; angels perhaps, but the subject matter wasn’t angelic. There was grief and death in it. She needed to study it alone, to absorb the artist’s impression, to feel the bumps of paint under her fingertips, to grasp the complete meaning of the work.
Maree held her breath and approached the painting. It was larger than she thought, almost four-foot square. The colors were also richer, more vivid, and the winged man and . . . yes, woman! were more evident. She was in awe, frozen with wonder before it.
“A beautiful work, no?” came a deeply masculine voice from behind her.
She started in surprise, but she didn’t move an inch. She was frozen with fear.
The voice came again, this time a little closer. “Don’t worry. I’m a stranger in this gallery as well. I too have an . . . affinity with the painting.”
A cold sweat bead ran down Maree’s neck. She found the courage to turn around. A tall man stood before her, no more than five feet away. He had short-cropped hair—light, but the exact color was unclear in the shadows. His eyes were pale, perhaps gray; his face was thin but his body seemed full and fit. It was hard to tell his age; perhaps in his early twenties, possibly older.
“I suppose you are wondering why I am here?”
Maree’s voice was weak, still with fear. “I . . . I suppose so . . .”
“I also wanted to see the painting. I have looked upon it before but never tire of viewing the captured emotions on the canvas.” He slipped past Maree and came within a few feet of Wings in Despair. “Do you mind?” he asked, pointing to her torch.
She complied, standing next to the stranger, and illuminated the painting.
The mysterious visitor’s voice mellowed, almost breaking with emotion. “This is the story of Alanar, Guardian of the Northern Sky Realm, and his share-heart, Mirriam. They were Protectors and fought the daemons of the Fire Lands valiantly, never allowing the enemy to taint the Homelands. Protectors always work in pairs, as a team.” The stranger started to cry, not vocally, just allowing the tears to slowly flow down his cheeks. “One day a stray arrow dug deep into Mirriam’s breast, piercing her heart. Alanar was devastated, and he caught her as she fell and carried her in his flight to the Homelands.
“This painting captures the moment when Mirriam’s body was caught. It faithfully portrays the agony of Alanar, his yellow-tipped wings rippling in the wind as he concludes his terrible descent. The swirling colors reflect the awful light of the Fire Lands but they also depict Alanar’s darkened heart. I look upon this work and I cannot but weep.”
His words rang true to Mirriam. How could this be? she asked herself, for this was but an artist’s fantasy; and yet she now realized why she was drawn to the painting. There was some inherent truth on the canvas. It said something to her that she needed. She also began to weep.
He turned his gaze to her. “You feel this too?”
She could only nod. Words were too difficult at that moment.
She shrugged her shoulders. She still couldn’t speak.
“Come with me.”
Maree turned to the stranger. She saw compassion in his face, and yet they only met a few minutes ago. Maree wanted to instantly reply “yes” but all she could do was stare at him quizzically.
He laughed while he cried. “Look at the painting again.”
She did. The swirling colors suddenly came to life; they actually were swirling.
“You are linked with this painting in so many ways,” Alanar said. “From the moment you were born you were meant to do this.”
She didn’t know why but she allowed herself to fall into the painting, and then, without warning, she unfurled her expansive, blue-tipped wings, and flew into the maelstrom of colors.
Alanar gently grasped her shoulders, to steady her clumsy flight.
“It has been a long time, Mirriam.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gerry Huntman is a writer and publisher based in Melbourne Australia, living with his wife and young daughter. He has sold over 50 short fiction pieces, most of which are dark and for mature audiences, but he also has a love for middle grade fiction. He loves travel and gets many of his story ideas from distant lands and culture, but is equally happy with the cafe set in his hometown.
AUTHOR LINKS: Website | Twitter
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